Spring hunting offers some awesome views of wildlife and the mountains as the seasons change. However, this time of year also comes with a some risks that hunters need to keep in mind. With the coronavirus pandemic putting additional stress on our healthcare workers, hunters should focus on avoiding mishaps. This article will provide a few tips for staying safe while hunting this spring.
Weather presents the most dangerous element of the hunt. People hear “bear hunting” and think “bear attacks,” but hypothermia poses a greater threat to most hunters. In April and May the temperature can fluctuate 20 to 30 degrees within a few hours. Add in the frequent rain and snow storms, and the risk gets even higher. Each day I hunted last week had rain, snow and sunshine at some point. Don’t leave camp unprepared just because the skies look clear at the moment. Always carry an extra merino shirt and a rain jacket. Wool stays warm even when it’s wet. Cotton will hold moisture from sweat and rain, which will give you chills as soon as the temperature drops.
Starting a Fire
Why are fires great till they gotta be great? When you most need a fire, on a cold, rainy day, they can feel impossible to start. Having a fire starter with you and an extra lighter to provide extra insurance will come in handy. Also, check out Outdoor Life’s tips for starting a fire in wet conditions when you get the chance.
In addition to carrying a fire starter, rain jacket and wearing wool clothing it’s a good idea to have a basic medical kit with you. A space blanket packs down and works wonder for keeping you warm. I’ve spent a few afternoons under a pine tree with a space blanket during elk season and I won’t leave camp without it. Lastly, bring extra layers to change into when your clothes get wet.
Assume that slopes will be wet in the springtime. Ledges will become slick with moisture and runoff. Rocks may become loose as the ground thaws, and rivers will rise as the snow melts. Keep a shovel in the back seat in case you find yourself stuck in mud or snow on a back road.
If you don’t have a hunting partner, let somebody know where you’re headed and when you expect to make it back out. For those hunting with buddies, establish radio protocols. Max likes to turn on his radio when he turns on his headlamp, and try to make contact every hour on the hour. Communicating and getting everyone on the same page could save a life.
Use common sense. Take it slow and err on the side of caution. Communicate with somebody about your plans and bring some extra layers. Good luck this season.